Last year I discovered afresh the power of prayer. I set aside my lunch hour on Fridays to pray and fast.
They were often sweet times of communion with my Father. One hour regularly turned into two. I often eagerly anticipated those hours. Though I wasn’t extremely legalistic about the time frame, for me it was something I was delighted to do; to miss one was to miss a rich experience.
At the start of 2013, I decided to recommit to pray on Fridays. Why not? Surely continuing such a life-giving exercise would be simple, right? Well it’s now March and though I have generally stuck with the time commitment, I have to admit it feels more like discipline than ever before. The choice to give high priority time to prayer is surprisingly challenged by competing voices and opportunities. What is it going to take for me to consistently pray with some of my best time?
“To begin anything with prayer – and to continue even when things are going well – is a discipline.” Galen Burkholder – General Director of Global Disciples
There are many things I do not because I feel like doing them, but because I know they are good for me. Prayer is one of them. But I needed some inspiration to continue on. So I decided to reread E.M. Bounds’ book The Power of Prayer from the 60’s it’s full of good stuff; here are some nuggets to keep you praying (if nothing else the language makes me smile – when was the last time you used the word “fructifies?”).
Prayer fuels us
“Preaching is not the performance of an hour. It is the outflow of a life. It takes twenty years to make a sermon, because it takes twenty years to make the man.” E.M. Bounds
Prayer prepares us
“Prayer – secret, fervent, believing prayer – lies at the root of all personal godliness. A competent knowledge of the language where a missionary lives, a mild and winning temper, a heart given up to God in closet religion – these, these are the attainments which, more than all knowledge, or all other gifts, will fit us to become the instruments of God in the great work of human redemption.” Carey Brotherhood, Seramore
Prayer refreshes us
“Prayer freshens the heart…keeps it in tune with God and in sympathy with the people, lifts his ministry out of the chilly air of profession, fructifies routine and moves every wheel with the facility and power of a divine unction.” E. M. Bounds
We all want to lead well. We all desire to see change in the lives of those we influence. In prayer lies a secret power, believe that today! Let’s not get busier by studying harder and working more hours. I challenge you to pray more even when it seems counterintuitive and a strange use of time.
Let’s be a little more like the great church leaders of the past who “…prayed not occasionally, not a little at regular or at odd times; but they so prayed that their prayers entered into and shaped their characters; they so prayed as to affect their own lives and the lives of others; they so prayed as to make the history of the Church and influence the current of the times. They spent much time in prayer, not because they marked the shadow on the dial or the hands on the clock, but because it was to them so momentous and engaging a business that they could scarcely give over.” E.M. Bounds
Why do you stick with prayer?